Whose Scalpel

Performance |2017

“Whose Scalpel” is a sound performance combined with visual and 3D printed installation, realized with an application framework for medical image processing. Mixing several methods from art and science, it is an imagination of the future and presents the issues of the relationship between a human and a machine in heart surgery. The concept is developed from out of three different areas the application of sound in medical science, coronary artery bypass surgery, and machine learning. The background story of the performance is based on the assumption that in the near future a surgeon works with a machine that can give advice in a surgery.

The installation is built according to the performer's real heart from MRI scans and is enlarged from its actual size. It is designed to interact when the performer plugs in audio cables and bridges connections as the method of coronary artery bypass surgery. During the performance, the storyline is led by the sound and the mixed video of medical images and live performance from the webcam. The video and the sound also present the machine which gives instruction to the performer as a physician. The patient (the heart) who (which) is operated on symbolizes human consciousness and faith. The performance brings out the question relating to the issue of the machine and humans: “If machines can reason even better than humans, will we as humans lose some abilities and even not believe ourselves anymore?”

“Whose scalpel” was realized by Yen Tzu Chang in the STEAM imaging residency project.
The residency program is designed by Fraunhofer MEVIS.

Performer: Yen Tzu Chang
Filming: Verena Mayrhofer and Stefan Tiefengraber
Video Editing: Verena Mayrhofer
Sound: Yen Tzu Chang
Photo 1-3: Verena Mayrhofer

Fraunhofer MEVIS team of residency: Bianka Hofmann, Sabrina Haase, Alexander Köhn, David Black
Ars Electronica team of residency: Veronika Liebl, Jessica Galirow, Maria Pfeifer, Peter Freudling, Erwin Reitboeck
Technical support of medical images: Alexander Köhn
Technical support for 3D models and printing: Peter Freudling, Erwin Reitboeck, Benjamin Krux

Special thanks: Interface culture, Fabricio Lamoncha Martinez, Jie Ting Jiang, Yin-Wen Lin